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Thread: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM

  1. #1
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    Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    It's my birthday today.


    The lens arrived just a few hours earlier, so I haven't had the time to do some real shots. It's my first true 1:1 macro lens, so I'm still getting used to the macro working distance. I thought I'd give some of my initial impressions before posting some sample shots.


    The box includes a lens hood, the lens, and a pouch. There is no tripod ring included.


    The lens is a good balance of weight on the 5D Mark II. It feels a bit like the EF 24-105/4L IS in terms of weight. For better or for worse, overall build quality feels similar as well, maybe not quite as "rugged-feeling." The exterior is definitely predominantly plastic.


    The focus ring is smooth and turns nearly a full 180 degrees. As expected, the gearing is such that most of the ring is reserved for focusing from the MFD of 30cm @ 1:1, to around 48cm @ 1:3, and the distance scale reflects this.


    The focus limiter has three settings. From left to right, they are "Full," "0.5m - infinity," and "0.3 - 0.5m". AF speed is not blazing fast regardless of the limiter setting, but it is a macro lens after all. It simply takes time to physically move the internal components the required distance. What helps, though, is if you turn the ring manually to get in the ballpark, then let AF do the rest. FTM focus is a feature of this lens. Focusing is entirely internal--neither the front nor rear elements move.


    Weather sealing is completed by using a front filter. A rubber gasket helps seal the rear.


    The diaphragm has 9 slightly curved blades.


    Hybrid image stabilization is reasonably quiet and performs okay, but I need to do more testing before I make a final verdict. The lens makes a soft clunking noise when gently shaken.


    The rear of the lens does not have the additional contacts for the Canon EF Extenders. As I do not yet own any such extenders I cannot determine whether this lens is compatible. However, it appears that the rear of the lens is designed such that it is physically possible to fit the extender to the lens.


    Overall, my initial impression of the EF 100/2.8L macro IS is that it is nicely designed, but that Canon certainly chose to make light weight a priority. It is not a lens I would want to drop or knock around, L build notwithstanding. As I have yet to put it through its paces in terms of optical quality, there's not much more I can say at this point. I hope to have more commentary soon.


    Oh, there is one more thing. The date code on my copy is UX08, which means it was manufactured in August 2009. Can't see why Canon couldn't have shipped it to me back then, instead of making me wait

  2. #2

    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Thanks for posting! I look forward to seeing some pictures.

  3. #3
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Five minutes already, were's the pictures!!

  4. #4
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    LOL


    Okay, so I set up a little test with some mineralogical samples I'd collected years ago. The results were pretty impressive. See for yourself.


    Here we have a piece of crystalline bismuth, approximately 1.5" x 1.2" x 1". Following image is uncropped, resized to 12.5% from the original 5616x3744 capture on 5D2. Magnification was 1:1, set up by manual focus, and moving the object into the depth of field. Rocks (and coins) are the easiest macro subjects in the world to shoot! []


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.30.26/IMG_5F00_0035.JPG[/img]


    This is a 100% crop of the same image. In this image, the distance between the two "points" from the upper left to the middle right is about 2.4mm.


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.30.26/IMG_5F00_0035c.JPG[/img]


    EXIF information shows 1s @ ISO 100 @ f/8, +1 EV.


    The funny thing I'm beginning to realize about shooting at such high magnification is that there aren't really very many objects that actually have enough fine detail at these reproduction ratios, except for things like insects. I tried shooting some printed text and nothing appeared sharp because, well, printed text isn't sharp when you look at it that closely. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could photograph with this crazy lens? I thought I'd want the MP-E 65mm at some point, but I think that for now, the EF 100/2.8L IS is going to be more than enough magnification for the foreseeable future! Can anyone advise on how to test this lens for sharpness at or near MM/MWD?

  5. #5
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    A few notes I want to add.


    By far the easiest way to shoot 1:1 with this lens is if you keep it in MF, and just move the camera back and forth. Using AF is cumbersome because between the time you get a lock and you press the shutter release, you might not be focused exactly where you thought you were. Even the IS doesn't completely overcome this. I kept the IS on, while mounting the camera on a tripod and using mirror lockup. I'm not sure if this had a detrimental effect on the image, but I suspect not.


    The IS doesn't seem to make much difference when you are really, really close. I found that at normal shooting distances, the IS worked fairly well, but I still have to conduct more tests to determine whether or not it truly is an improvement over previous generations. I'm really not all that convinced of its performance, to be honest.

  6. #6
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Quote Originally Posted by wickerprints
    LOL





    Glad you liked my little joke! Looks great too me, just have fun with your new toy!!

  7. #7
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    The funny thing I'm beginning to realize about shooting at such high magnification is that there aren't really very many objects that actually have enough fine detail at these reproduction ratios, except for things like insects.


    Almost everything takes on a different and interesting appeal at 1:1.


    Dew, cracked paint, bark textures, feathers, matchbox cars, yarn, money, rust, flowers, brick, tools, machines, coral, fish and bugs. There are wonderful shapes, textures, and images in almost anything, but, there is not only the technical learning curve of using a macro lens, one must learn to see the shot within. The best way is to study the work of others and experiment. It's a lot of fun.

  8. #8
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Quote Originally Posted by wickerprints
    The funny thing I'm beginning to realize about shooting at such high magnification is that there aren't really very many objects that actually have enough fine detail at these reproduction ratios, except for things like insects.

    Then try insects on coins.........LOL





    Canon EOS 5D, EF 100 f2.8 Macro, <span class="nowrap"]f/11 @ <span class="nowrap"]100 mm, <span class="nowrap"]10s, <span class="nowrap"]ISO 100, <span class="nowrap"]No Flash (Tripod)


    or just coins: I think they have enough detail when magnified.





    Canon EOS 40D, EF 100 f2.8 Macro plus Tamron 1.4X TC, f14 @ 140mm (220m Eq.), 1/250, ISO 320 (Handheld) Proof that an extender (Tamron) can be used with a Canon lens that doesn't work with a Canon TC.


    I usemanual focus when down to 1:2- 1.4:1 magnification. I try to use a tripod or flash (no E-TTL ambient mix)


    When taking macro shots outdoors under handheld conditionsIS may have afforded me a f8 aperture or cleaner 1600 ISO to have taken this one: Possibly even better, maybe f8 at ISO 1600 at 1/30.





    Canon EOS 40D, EF 100 f2.8 Macro, f4 @ 100mm 1/125, ISO 3200 (Handheld)


    Sorry for the crappy resizing, I still haven't got everything in one place yet.


    Try This: Set the focus on manual and closest distance. Try for at least a f8-f16 aperture. Find your subject through the viewfinder. That in itself is sometimes difficult to do. Sometimes you have to start away (like 12-18 inches) then move in as you continue to focus manually until you are at 1:1. Then move in and out to control focus. (this is a very fine movement) take many frames as you do this. Try with IS on and IS off and let us know what you think. Handheld macro (1:1) keeper rate 1 out of 10.


    BTW...thanks for posting all this info. Sometimes people spend money on something then talk sunshine to justify the expense. Ireally respectyour objective, honest approach to this. This is really good stuff.



  9. #9
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Thanks for your thoughts on the new lens.


    What AF mode are you using for these shots? Do you suffer the same AF problems if you're in AI Servo mode? I would hope that in this mode, the camera focus would compensate for the backwards-forwards movement that make for out-of-focus images.

  10. #10
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    Re: Just got my EF 100/2.8L macro IS USM



    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Lee
    Then try insects on coins.........LOL

    ROFLMAO


    I have just the thing for that, and I forgot about it until you reminded me! I have a few preserved insect specimens lying around somewhere...dead bugs are also easy to shoot []


    Canon EOS 5D, EF 100 f2.8 Macro, <span class="nowrap"]f/11 @ <span class="nowrap"]100 mm, <span class="nowrap"]10s, <span class="nowrap"]ISO 100, <span class="nowrap"]No Flash (Tripod)


    or just coins: I think they have enough detail when magnified.

    Indeed! I will have to rethink what I expect to see at these magnifications...


    Canon EOS 40D, EF 100 f2.8 Macro plus Tamron 1.4X TC, f14 @ 140mm (220m Eq.), 1/250, ISO 320 (Handheld) Proof that an extender (Tamron) can be used with a Canon lens that doesn't work with a Canon TC.

    Hmm,.... does this mean I'm better off buying a non-Canon TC, then? I was contemplating the EF 1.4x II, but now I'm not so sure. The only lens I own that is officially supported is the 70-200/2.8L IS. I think I'll wait a while longer before deciding.


    Try This: Set the focus on manual and closest distance. Try for at least a f8-f16 aperture. Find your subject through the viewfinder. That in itself is sometimes difficult to do. Sometimes you have to start away (like 12-18 inches) then move in as you continue to focus manually until you are at 1:1. Then move in and out to control focus. (this is a very fine movement) take many frames as you do this. Try with IS on and IS off and let us know what you think. Handheld macro (1:1) keeper rate 1 out of 10.

    Okay so here's my result. No new pics right now, but I'll post more as soon as I dig up my dead bugs in a box. First observation: the IS definitely works. It makes a very noticeable difference handheld from around 1/15 - 1/200s @ 1:1. Mind you, it's not always tack sharp at 1/15+IS, but is "acceptably sharp" much more frequently than if the IS is off. In fact, I would pretty much not bother shooting slower than 1/100 without IS. I also discovered (remember, I'm new to macro) that how you hold the camera is super important. Traditionally I've placed my left hand near the base of the lens. With macro I get much better results when I hold the lens at the front. Bracing is important too, but I can't always have something to rest my hands upon.


    Slower than 1/15 - 1/20s, I would not attempt to shoot handheld, IS or not. The IS benefit is clearly a function of the working distance. At *best* I can squeak out maybe 2 stops near 1:1, but at "normal" subject distances, I can get almost 4 stops. Another thing I noticed is that the IS doesn't dampen the camera shake in the viewfinder as well as I had hoped; it's still quite shaky and that makes handheld composition and focus tricky, with or without tripod. Clearly I have to improve my shooting technique.


    In fact, I would say that the 1/f shutter speed rule breaks down at 1:1. I think it should be more like 1/((1+m)*f), where m = magnification and f is the focal length. With IS off, I was still getting blurry shots @ 1/100s handheld. Then again, maybe I just need to lay off the triple lattes with adderall chaser. (j/k)


    My verdict on IS @ 1:1? It DOES help. Can I say whether the "hybrid" component of the IS makes a difference? No, because there's no way for me to test that...I'd need the ability to selectively enable/disable it, which I'm unable to do. Bottom line--it's a boost but don't expect it to perform miracles. It's not as stupefyingly amazing as Canon's marketing department has made it out to be. So, sorry, you're still going to have to give up that extra morning cup of coffee. LOL


    BTW...thanks for posting all this info. Sometimes people spend money on something then talk sunshine to justify the expense. Ireally respectyour objective, honest approach to this. This is really good stuff.

    You're most welcome. I figure this is my chance to make a fair assessment of a new design. Although I've never owned the EF 100/2.8 macro, based on the images I've seen taken by other, more accomplished macrophotographers, and comparing them with my own naive results, I'd say the vast majority of owners of the old 100/2.8 don't need to trade up. For them, I think the main benefit would be the realization of somewhat easier shooting. They've already found ways to get sharp images @ 1:1, so the IS really is only icing on the cake. The 100/2.8L macro IS, in my view, is geared toward people who are beginning with macro and are willing/able to spend the extra $400 over the non-IS version to get every bit of help they can--like me! And I think Canon knew this, because they did not discontinue the older model. The new model is a tech showcase lens--designed to show off their lens R&amp;D and gauge its future applicability toward the broader EF range.

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